SA’s tally of poached rhino looks set to exceed last year’s 668 killed, with officials saying 367 have been killed in the first five months of 2013.
With stiff jail sentences being passed by judges, the department said 114 people had been arrested in connection with poaching. Fifty of these had been arrested in the Kruger National Park, where the majority of the country’s rhinos live.
Since poaching steeply accelerated in 2009, the park has been the focus of most anti-poaching efforts by the government. But 247 of the rhino killed so far have come from the park. South Africa has 20 000 rhino left, 70% of the world’s population.
The increase in the rate of rhino poached comes in spite of the use of new technology in the war against poachers – most of whom are coming over the border from Mozambique. Edna Molewa, minister of environmental affairs, has been pushing for an agreement between the two countries to curb poaching.